By the people, for the people

Let's get out of the box. Drone home. [Photo from]

Let’s get out of the box. Drone home. [Photo from]

By Josephivo

Being stuck in the present we should remember the future too, the Philippines in 10, 20 years’ time.

This piece is intended just as a warming up exercise. The subject is too vast and interlinked with almost every aspect of life. These few paragraphs cannot cover it all. Just some thoughts by thinking divergently, searching the big picture, later we’ll have to think convergent, what needs priority, what is feasible, what to do.

A few blogs ago, Joe invited us to dream. And why not dream big? Dream about how we could best be “organized”. By whom? Who can best be trusted to represent our interests? On what? What should be an individual or family responsibility, what should be organized as communities as states or on a higher level to be more efficient or to guarantee a more level playing fields? How to organize all this?

And from what viewpoint? Do we organize for the highest GDP? Organize for the least suffering and/or the highest happiness? As a fixed (minimum?) level for all or as a fair distribution? (And what is fair? A GINI coefficient 0 is theoretical, 0.2 as the best distribution existing today in Scandinavia, or is 0.4 more realistic…) Are there other variables such as cost or efficiency, ease of implementation, level of acceptance, robustness or risk of high-jacking…?

What should the unifying stories be? Luckily we do not have to invent everything, we see examples of organization formulas in the animal world and, more interestingly, in our political, religious and economic history, some were more successful, some agonizing failures.

0. A few of my axioms first.

0.1 There are tangibles and intangibles, things that are “real” and things that are imagined. A suitcase with $1,000,000 in 100 dollar bills, the paper is real, the value is imagined based on stories we believe. The Philippines: the soil and the people are real, the nation is an imagined construction. A special category of tangibles are those that can suffer (intangibles can’t suffer at all).

0.2 There are 2 me’s. One that is biological, my geno-type, determined by my genes and the environment that helped them deploy and one that  is perceived through my actions, my pheno-type. The more I can live who I am, the more the 2 align, the happier I will be. My physical strength, the responsiveness of my senses, the wiring of my brain are biological, optimal use of them makes me happy.

0.3 Biologically we evolved over millions of years as hominid and over during 70 millennia as the current Homo Sapiens. “Man is a social animal, not made to live alone”, Aristotle. Our brains are wired to live in groups of maximum 150 people. Living in larger groups required “stories” to unify, such as common religious beliefs, national identities, belief in corporations, in the value of a paper dollar bill. Fiction or story telling became at the core of our existence.

0.4 How to define “good”? Utilitarianism. Utility is the least “story” dependent. Utility not in economic terms but as the balance between all pleasure and suffering created by an action. (What algorithm should the programmer use for a self-driving car in a critical situations? Kill 3 pedestrians or ditch the driver in the ravine? 1 pedestrian child or the old driver, the future or the experience? Or do we need a selection  knob so the driver can select himself “comfort for me always first”, “sport for whoever moves faster” or …?)

0.5 Until now we were focused on the “outside” for happiness, what happens around us, consumption. This century will focus on the “inside”, consciousness and self, the brain. To understand happiness, one has to start with suffering that is easier to understand. (Buddha was advance in this understanding. We will have to ask Edgar for help here)

1. Organization levels above the family and their scope.

As we are social animals the identification with a group is crucial. Identification with a family and its surrounding clan is natural. All other forms of identification require shared stories. Higher forms are necessary to achieve higher efficiencies through “economies” of scale and specialization in the economic world, the spiritual world, the political world.

1.1 The communities.

Simple win-win situations can be solved through cooperation of families, zero-sum situations will require a higher level to cut conflicts by setting and implementing rules. As we left the forest we organized ourselves (or were forced to) in many communities, economic, spiritual or geographic/defense/political. All spheres with their specific stories. Story telling became an art, mixing sticks and carrots, promising heaven and threatening with hell, we started selling (brainwashing?) them from kindergarten. Only OUR economic system will lead us to prosperity, every deviation will guarantee hardship; OUR God is more powerful and the only one able to lead us to heaven, every deviation will guarantee hell; OUR local union is the best, lack of support will expose us to plunder. Stories are essential for survival but notice that often the most fervent story tellers build in some perks for themselves (bankers and captains of industry, mullahs and cardinals, kings and other nobility…)

1.2 The State.

As communications and trade expanded and distances decreased, a higher level or organization was required. Geographic, spiritual and economic communities coalesced, a higher level referee was required. The absolute king was accepted as the representative of God, the ultimate decider. Later titles and the justifications changed, but the need for a national leadership remained. Original land and populations were a given in this zero sum situation and so wars were  a given. The economy found new ways to create new needs and thus new growth.

1.3 The Blue Marble.

Many of our major problems today don’t recognize national borders. The technological disruption by robots, biological breakthroughs and algorithms spread as wildfire and can no longer be kept in the safe coffers of a single company or university. The effects of climate change are global, the biggest victims seldom the worst contributors. The finance system is organized on a global scale, money crosses borders in millisecond by decision of a computer. Some win-win situations can be solved through cooperation, zero-sum situations will only deteriorate, a new global identity story and a global referee will be required. Wait until the first major crisis will force us to do so or will we be able to anticipate?

2. Representation.

2.1 With 100% involvement . . .

No representation needed, we can all decide the important issues ourselves by majority (or for constitution level of issues, by a supermajority).

– “Government by referenda”. All important decisions decided by referenda.

– Plebiscites and citizen initiatives. Citizens form action groups around specific issues and formulate policies that are put for approval to the public at large in a plebiscite.

– Ballot questions. Where different options cannot lead to a political decision, they can be formulated as a ballot question.

– Mega data and algorithms. The mega data of the “Googles” of this world linked to everything the government knows, GPS and telecoms know, what banks know… this mega set of combined data will know the citizens better than the citizens themselves. Smart algorithms could be used to decide the direction the majority prefers to go even without asking them. (Kindle knows what we read, when we read, where and when we interrupt our reading, a build in camera could flawlessly recognize our emotions while we read, and it will remember all this forever.)

– People Power events. All is OK until a mega manifestation of dissatisfaction decides otherwise, physical or virtual.


In a previous life I learned that a planned 100% control has its weaknesses too. The larger number of inspectors can be less capable or distracted. Production people can be less careful knowing that inspection is always the next step.

Even 100% representation initiatives will have absentees and this group will not be random, meaning that potentially large groups might not be represented in a final decision.

The average citizen decides on feelings/common sense instead of deciding rationally, based on facts. (And people prefer to talk about unimportant things they understand rather than talk about the important things they do not understand.)

The way a question is formulated influences the answers.

2.2 Direct Elections

Via a ballot box we select lawmakers and a chief executives who will run the country in a presidential system.


Lack of open political debate or an informed electorate makes it impossible to know who I can trust.

Interference by outsiders in the selection of candidates and in the campaigns, such as big money, moral crusaders, dynasties.

Tampering with the election mechanism.

Unfair election rules, crooked districts, too high thresholds, voting barriers…

Poor list of candidates, limited to political dynasties, selected only on celebrity power, turncoat trapos…

The cost of an election. In 2016: Comelec 9 billion, candidates spent 10 billion or some PHP1000 per family. (Plus hidden costs as unnecessary infrastructure works around the election, secret vote buying, cleaning up after the elections, travel costs, waiting….)

2.3 Indirect representation

– One method is “sequential sampling”; depending on the issues at hand, the decision is referred to a higher level, a  more expert panel. We select community people we trust to select professional lawmakers and executives.

– Selecting via an electoral college(s). Staged, barangay officials selecting provincial officials who select regional governments who select the national officials.

–  Or we select straight the national officials who select the president as in a parliamentary system.

– Or everything in between


The pyramid is only as strong as its base.

In-between levels might be “for sale”.

More difficult path for celebrities. Stronger parties required.

2.4 Authoritarian rulers

Embedded in a legal context or not. Authoritarian rulers can be selected via a legitimate system, assume dictatorship via a coup or by incremental steps. As it takes two to tango, at the other side we need “children” who need/want guidance and feel/are entitled of support. (Adults can decide and provide for themselves.)

Situational Leadership teaches that the best style of leadership depends on the “readiness” of subordinates, where readiness is the combination of knowledge and motivation. With no knowledge at all and/or no motivation at all a “tell style” or dictator fits best, (then comes a “sell style” as in a democracy with ample downwards communication, next a “support style” with less state and more communication upwards and ultimately a “delegate style” where citizens decide themselves what has to be solved and give directions on how it has to be solved.)

Authoritarian leaders want to govern alone, checks and balances are suppressed.

The easiest “carrot” story is “fight a common enemy”: externally the nasty neighbors, internally as the immigrants or poor drug addicts. The easiest “stick” is fear.

3. Some out of the box thinking.

3.1 Build a wall around California, not Mexico. Robots and algorithms take more American jobs then immigrants and there are bad dudes hacking too. Shoot plunderers and leaders of criminal gangs, not the poorest users and the poorest pushers. Plunderers create poverty the main source of addiction, top criminals organize the business. Analyze a problem before deciding.

3.2. People can select beauty queens in  real time, why not let them decide in real time how some of their money is spent on a national level? (see Portugal were citizens can decide by line how a % of the taxes will be spent)

3.3 Stop expensive elections and select an electoral college at  random  from all registered voters. This college of 500 (1000?) voters selects the President and the Senators from the enrolled candidates via a majority (2/3?) and in a conclave. (Compare with a jury system.)

3.4 Replace the Senate by a body of randomly selected citizens who get ½ year training by randomly selected politicians, media people and academe. Refresh 1/3 every year. (The ideal job duration is 3 years: 1 year to learn, 1 year to work hard and 1 year to enjoy what you have done and train successors).

(see Belgian/Dutch G1000, the Swedish Pirates and LiquidFeedback)

3.5 Globalization of major problems (technological disruption, climate, finance…) caused many people to get lost. “We have no control over what is happening”. Cause and effect is no more related. e.g. With a tremendously lucrative invention of 3D textile printers in Silicon Valley, who will compensate the millions of Bangladeshi who will lose their jobs? The Californians or Santa Claus? Self-driving cars and truck drivers? Algorithms or AI  and call center workers?… Will only Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and the other Elon Musks decide? Will a new supranational body have to be organized? Or does America come first (those with the biggest gun)?

3.6 A normal reflex when one gets lost is to go back to a point he recognizes. This is wise in a static situation, but when new ways of transport are organized in the meantime, new cities build, new bridges and highways, it might be not such a good idea. Back to EDSA? Or were the changes too big in the meantime?

3.7 Peer to Peer movement. A mixed economy with 3 main organizers: the State, Companies and Commons. Commons are places where individuals exchange products/services, e.g. Linux, Bitcoin, Airbnb, Wikipedia, farmers markets, repair “libraries”, even in Facebook and Youtube the content is supplied for free by individuals… (Some are totally self-organizing, some are still “high jacked” by people with financial motives.) Work as a  hobby for all, jobs for a few (The elite? Happy ones? Un-happy ones?)

4. Conclusion.

  • Again, the Philippines has extraordinary opportunities to experiment and take a lead: A very young population open for the future. (Many current “stories” are weak)
  • An international presence via millions of OFWs and good knowledge of English. (First-hand knowledge of successes and failure in other countries, having multinational identities, global networks)
  • Leading in the BPO industry with good knowledge what is happening in the digital world. (virtual versed, acceptance of AI, creative)
  • Still strong in the “very old”, the very natural and satisfying world of families. The future will be closer to what our genes tell us. (knowing/living what it requires to “belong”, see Filipino value set)
  • The nation state will be too slow to react upon technological changes, strong communities will be required to guarantee belonging, to anticipate or react fast in the changing world. Community life comes natural in the Philippines.
  • The presence of a high need for change. The current political systems are failing.
  • Negative is the education system with its emphasis on repeating what the teacher says. The future will require problem solving skills, creativity, initiative and the possibility to reinvent oneself again and again.

We have already plenty of organizational tools and we will have many, many more tools, massively more powerful and immensely more intelligent. But do we have the slightest idea what we have to build better? And how?

Our story telling is lagging, eventually we’ll have to invent new ones that can guide us through an exciting future.


Heavily indebted to Yuval Noah Harari of “Home Sapiens” and his recent “Homo Deus”

79 Responses to “By the people, for the people”
  1. I have a bipolar reaction to this wonderful framing of the human condition. One is to see clearly how small and unimpressive we are with our politics and incivility. Basically, I think most of us are psychologically weak or even mentally ill. The other is to see the future as exciting and invigorating, with so many choices, so much technology, so many opportunities to do something worthwhile.

    In that latter vein, I make reference of the joining of life and technology in this article about using dna as a storage medium:

    • josephivo says:

      For me the big question is “who decides all this”. Change is so invasive and comes so fast. Social media are only 10 years old and kids today can no more imagine a world without them. Who did ask for social media? Who decided they have to be organized the way they are, what security settings, what to prioritize…?

      All technical inventions are neutral, nuclear fusion/fission, the DNA memories you mentioned…. all can be used for good or bad, but who decides? The invisible hand? Shareholders? Religious leaders? The academe? We the people with our politicians? Chance?

      • Democracy is inefficient, and shallow. People pick lousy leaders and democracy is slow to react to everything, and the next term unwinds what the previous leadership did. I’d suggest we elect Warren Buffet as king of the world and get moving.

        • josephivo says:

          Very good, and now to write the Warren Buffet King Story that will have global appeal. With a religious or ethical twist, or only a financial one? Certainly with a lot of emotional attachments. Who will be the charismatic preachers? And what will be in for them? Condo in a Trump tower?

          • Religion will fade in favor of compassionate reasoning, but people will be allowed their beliefs, separate from the government’s deeds. Finance is only a means to ends that start with the basic understanding that earth is fragile and we ought to stop playing loose with her. The preachers will be selected by King Buffet, and might include those recommended by a kind of Nobel Committee, with nominees displaying great reach and depth of thought, and little psychological need to win over other people (apolitical). What is in it for them is depth of satisfaction. The HQ will be in Asia. Maybe Manila where East meets West . . . after the place has been totally fumigated for Duterte followers.

    • NHerrera says:

      This DNA research for massive data storage and recovery, and its reported durability compared to the current system — which researcher Yaniv Erlich said will be completed in over a decade — is great news and invaluable resource for mankind. The procedure for storage and recovery should be one of those that have to be copied and lodged in places that can survive an all out nuclear war; hopefully not before the DNA system of storage and recovery is completed and functional. So that with the recovered knowledge/ data mankind may begin anew when that happens.

      The survivors or their children’s children may yet to read the series of JoeAm’s blog and commentaries. 🙂

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Hope this is not unrelated.

    All Smartcity proposals I read involves phasing out of the jeepney. This is an immovable object that lacks the Irresistible force of political will.

    why can’t our government tax older vehicles heavily.
    If we get rid of older vehicles including the rolling coffins,we don’t have to worry of the influx of brand new cars.( which should be taxed less)

    Bleeding hearts or bleeding pockets?

    • josephivo says:

      A jeepney is the Philippines. But where is the Filipino Elon Musk who can launch a hole new concept in no time. A safe, environment friendly, comfortable, affordable jeepney? (with no bolts sticking through the roof that can rip open your skull at a minor accident! Or with black fumes of carcinogen sooth ripping days of your life… )

      • karlgarcia says:

        I am sure we don’t lack inventors who complain of lack of support not only from the government,but from the private sector who takes credit of their ideas.

        The complaint today is that the modern jeepney is unaffordable.
        Maybe if there are many takers, law of supply and demand will prevail?
        There must also be a transition period in every policy.
        What happens is we plan, then a pressure group will object.
        No pros and cons just 100 percenters.
        Back to the drawing board, till next president.

        • josephivo says:

          Check how Elon Musk deals with an unaffordable issue. Value for money. What is it we as individuals and we as society value? At what cost? If the jeepney and its transport concept has no premium value over conventional mini-busses and transport systems, why argue?

    • sonny says:

      Neph, Filipino Elon Musk? Filipino, yes. Elon Musk? maybe not yet …

      A countryman we should know, Marx Melencio. 🙂

  3. karlgarcia says:

    You mentioned real time transparency.

    This teminds me of our direct democracy discussions.

    Why not inventory the 20 year proposals like FOI,Land use, I am sure there are more, but make it less than ten then we can text vote within 24 hours.

    Then the congressmen can have their pet projects.

    • karlgarcia says:

      The twenty year old bills also had 20 years of press and information. All it needs is one special report in all media then the text votes can proceed.

      Only the top ten 20 year old bill will be selected, not included are the renaming of streets or buildings and some piece of legislations not worth going back to.

      The representatives now will not have land lords, warlords, and dynasts and hopefully there is a 20 year bill banning celebrities from running.

  4. josephivo says:

    I have my reservations for direct democracy. Everyone is not an expert in everything. So decisions via representation is often the better solution as long as you can avoid that boxers decide on the dead penalty. But yes there are fields where most people have a good understanding (up to the people to decide what?) and there direct democracy can be valuable.

    In Portugal you can assign this way a % of your taxes to specific departments.

    • karlgarcia says:

      A good balace of direct and representation.
      All we need is patience for things to move and work.

      • Bavarian direct democracy had 835 referendums from 1995 through 2005. There is a quorum rule – referenda start as petitions that need a certain percentage of voters to be taken to the public vote.

        There is also the 10-year rule – any decision made by referendum CANNOT be overturned or put to vote again for at least 10 year, I guess this it to prevent weder-weder decisions.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    3.1 Build a wall around California, not Mexico. Robots and algorithms take more American jobs then immigrants and there are bad dudes hacking too.

    That would be a problem in a smart city, there would be Zero privacy, add hackers, Smart city will be hijacked and We will go manual in no time.
    The internet is killing retail in America. These big time brick and mortars are shooting themselves in the foot for supporting Amazon during its infancy in e-commerce.

    The call center movement want their jobs back, ok deport more mexican americans then Tijuana will take over. We should also Worry about that.
    But yeah, algorithms will soon take over.
    Speaking of Tijuana and California , Is the sewage spill intentional? The California beaches will be closed.

  6. popoy del R. cartanio says:

    Out of topic, a digression; a blast este poem from the past. I was emailing Noynoy
    Almost every other day to a hundred, then stopped when he got elected.

    34th – email to Noynoy
    Monday, March 1, 2010 11:34 am

    I wrote a poem may be for readers to cogitate and masticate:


    If God is both history and oracle
    Then God works not in mysterious ways
    But in glaring obviousness.

    Take the French Revolution to see
    Floods of blood to wash cleaned
    The folly of excess of the elite.

    Shed tears for St. Joan of Orleans
    By her own people betrayed, she burned at the stake
    To nullify her victories oracled by angels.

    Lament India’s Mahatma cremation
    Own’s country independence was no Kevlar
    Against bullets of his tribe’s assassin.

    Catholics forget short-lived Pope John Paul I
    Poisoned by the devout and devoted
    He only wanted to be Jesus-like in his ways.

    Shake your head for Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Shot not for having a dream but for talking
    So his people may live like true human beings.

    Remember Jose Protacio Rizal, scientist and artist
    Who thought liberation is won by ways of peace
    Whose politicians remain yoked and shackled by avarice.

    Look down on lowly plebeian Andres Bonifacio
    Wrongly believing that good prevails over evil too.
    The rightness of his cause killed by the Magdalo

    Remember Ninoy Aquino killed by the hand of one
    Of a people he thought worth dying for; when no one
    Is sure what it was about after all is said and done.

    Remember Ninoy’s widow, world-loved Cory Cojuangco
    Very few know why she was attacked with so many coup,
    People only knew after many have served well Gloria Arroyo.

    Think of Obama’s typology of bad and good side of history.
    Think of the villains and victims of God’s obviousness.
    Think of His son, speared and crucified, and be ready.

    And you will know, no noble cause, no humble prayer
    Or ferocious thrusts is safe from pious or Godless
    Woes dimmed by oracles, chronicled by history.

    If God is history and oracle, isn’t it a fact ?
    His obviousness remain a mystery
    Only to the callous of murder and treachery.

    If God is history and oracle, read therein
    Which time has made well written and certain
    That man not Eden is evil’s flourishing garden.

    Heed with silent tears then,
    what Rizal said that writers refrain:
    Pray for those Nabulid sa dilim.

  7. Bing Garcia says:

    I pray that as I stand for my most strongly held convictions, I find the humility and inner strength to be the man who instead handed flowers to the Duterte Youth, on Edsa anniversary, in front of the Edsa Shrine.

    Oscar Franklin Tan

  8. popoy del R. cartanio says:

    On January 5, 2015, two years and 2 months ago I wrote a “Future Shock” kind of 4 essays. Here’s the first one which could be relevant topic in this piece at bar; if not and inappropriate, JoeAm may just delete.

    THE PHILIPPINES IN 2030 (First of a Series)
    A lot of older people (and I am too) always claim they are only too glad to be wrong and not right because of the dire consequences or tragic results if they are proved right in their assertions. But in this article and the many to follow it through—I will be too damned glad to be right—against thick and thin disbeliefs, criticisms, guffaws, and whatever as I choose to wrestle with incredulity to write what will not happen, WILL HAPPEN or something like it anyway in the Philippines in the year 2030.

    By 2030 the country would have undergone four national parliamentary elections held every four years simultaneously with the twelve regional parliaments; massive no nonsense nation building have involved the estimated 128 million citizenry from the Barangays to towns, cities and provinces under regional governance. Each region is developing strength like a country by itself. The world led by the United Nations, WB, the IMF, the EEC, the NATO are all increasing their support in this novel cosmic experiment in human rehabilitation and draconian socio-cultural transformation.

    The Filipino diasporas in every nook and corner of the globe are giving more than all out support to this unexpected and unparalleled experiment. This is the resurgence of the interrupted, patented Filipino People’s Bloodless Revolt in EDSA in 1986 . From 1986 to 2030 is 44 years. It’s a long wait for this CHANGE to happen. If 2030 will not happen as written here, then condolence and sympathy from the rest of the world may be the unintended expected.
    FAST FORWARD TO THE YEAR 2030: The nation’s political will having hurdled the insurmountable financial impossibility of mind boggling large scale financial outlays for the required social and physical infrastructure and after the new political leaders courageously accepted to start from almost nothing while avoiding extravagant and ostentatious governance, successful governance has gained a foothold and continue to dominate the fabric of the Philippine Society.

    The head of State a non politician outstanding citizen president appointed by the Prime Minister with concurrence of the National Parliament is serving the last year of his six-year term. POLITICAL decentralization and devolution is gaining strength in lagging regions
    Government departments and appropriate government corporations and instrumentalities had been broken up and dispersed to the regions; lawmaking and the judiciary had been devolved to the regions as regional parliaments and regional supreme courts

    Kings of corruption in the three branches of government had passed on or been put away in glamorized jails; large regional penitentiaries had been established; an island in the Spratlys had been made a prison for illegal drugs and corruption, and heinous crimes convicts; there was no need for capital punishment only life imprisonment for such crimes;

    The horsemen of the four cultural apocalypse of impunity, corruption, lawlessness, and poverty are all on the ground with their horses ready to be put down.
    The Armed Forces: Army, Navy. Air Force, Coast Guard had been assigned to the Regions to develop strength like a country in itself

    Disaster Management and Control and Relief Operational Capability had been regionalized.
    The constitutional offices like COA, CSC, COMELEC, retains central supervision and control but field offices were devolved to regional governments;

    Three times Prime Minister Benigno Simeon Aquino III has retired.
    The PNOY model of Executive Administration combining lawmaking and development administration assisted by a supportive judiciary has gained recognition from ASEAN. The constitutional tripartite equal powers of the three branches to govern and loot the treasury and natural resources are waters under the bridge.

    There was a marked DECREASED of elected Parliament members (both national and regional) coming from the ranks of lawyers and movie actors; there was INCREASED membership from educators, young businessmen, doctors, engineers, accountants, and other professionals ; Governance had aimed for no national statesman or political heroes, or handsome or sexy celebrities.

    Known political family dynasties are mostly recent history losing elections consistently; vote buying had been severely punished for ward leaders and candidates; extreme limitations on campaign contribution and spending had been enforced; Massive decentralization in the COMELEC led to the dismissal of corrupt personnel;

    There was a rebirth in the moral fabric of the members of the two ancient political parties: The Liberal and the Nationalista Parties. All the opportunist political parties and the party lists politicians are just becoming memories.

    The regional governments run by regional premiers are making waves in most aspects of human and political development as volunteerism and civic mindedness had demonstrated unexpected resurgence which to a large extent had dampened the activities of NGOs established by charlatans to provide themselves with employment and cash cows.
    The national budget in Trillions of Pesos has been broken down into billions and sent to the regional treasuries.

    Regional Government budgets are resource seeking assisted by strengthened decentralized Regional Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs.
    Regions had been encouraged and empowered to strike on their own strength and resources like little countries competing with the other regions in uplifting the human condition.
    Out of humility perhaps, NOSTRADAMUS did not exclaim: “Who says history is only a written record of the past?” So he wrote some historic elements of the future and got it right in some parts.

    REWIND TO 2015, the PRESENT
    By 2030 some politicians in the news today may already be retired or just out of the scene. J.P. Enrile will be 106; J. erap Estrada 93; J.C. Binay, 88; Mirriam Santiago, like Rodrigo Duterte will both be 85; G.M. Arroyo, 83; Panfilo Lacson, will be 82.

    After fifteen years the young leaders in 2015 may likely have already assumed the mantle of mature parliamentary leadership in the national scene or the many regional governments. If still alive and active like vintage wine in 2030 they are: Antonio Trillanes IV, 59; Alan Peter Cayetano, 60; Grace Poe, 62; Koko Pimentel III, 66; Leni Robredo, 69; Kim Henares, 70; Noynoy Aquino III, also 70; L D Lima and T. Guingona both 71; lastly the old man of group Mar Roxas at 73. Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas could be the stirling figures straddling two decades as Prime Ministers and later appointed as Presidents, the ceremonial Heads of State.

    State governance by twelve regions in 2030 speaks of an exciting public administration by mostly young politicians, home grown, move by goals and objectives driven politics. The Prime Minister’s Cabinet and the Regional Premiers’ Cabinet will have adopted a sci-tech based approach to kinky problems caused by force majeure and disease epidemics.

    The departments instead of following traditional multi-disciplinary, division of labor, specialization oriented solutions like : you announced the typhoons, I take care of rescue operations, you take care of relief and relocation, he takes care of the flooding, you provide medical services, blah, blah, blah. This is strengthened by a proactive INTERDISCIPLINARY cabinet strategies synthesized by technical specialists in the PM and Premiers’ offices.

    It should be interesting to paint este write on the forest and the landscape of the parliamentary system that’s anathema to the Filipino articulate critical mass but could well be beneficial to the larger clueless masses. Next time, May be. ****

  9. Micha says:

    The topic is indeed broad and important and invites serious contemplation.

    Teilhard de Chardin predicted the rise of globalization and the inevitability and preeminence of technology in everyday life some 60 years ago. Yuval Noah Harari is carrying the torch of that prophetic tradition.

    For now, however, lots of questions have to be answered. Bottomline, mankind has no choice but to march ever closer towards unanimisation.

    • josephivo says:

      Teilhard de Chardin a French Jesuit, Yuval Hariri a secular Jew. We need thinkers with new perspectives. Why not Filipinos? They have specific values that could be important for the future, community, living “light”, social skills…

  10. karlgarcia says:

    Globalization and Inequality.

    Even IMF said neoliberal policies was oversold.

  11. karlgarcia says:


    Earlier today during the DDS hearings Senator Sottocopy was questioning a change in font in Lascañas affidavit, he said it might just be copied and pasted from somewhere.

    He should know best, being the master of Sottocopying.
    He is now citing his sources.
    Earlier when Senator Hontiveros cited a 2009 blue ribbon committee hearing where Senator Gordon accepted a recanted account; Sotto asked what year was that again then he cited a 2013 supreme court decision saying not to give credence to recanted testimonies.

    • NHerrera says:

      I watched a portion of the senate hearing on Lascanas. As expected some senators, among who are Pacquiao, Villanueva circled the Duterte wagon in defense, making much bones on the recantation matter — although that matter of recantation is indeed an issue. I do not know world jurisprudence on recantation in general.

      Interesting are the many details on the numerous names, including police participants, and places and dates and times in Lascanas narrative. I understand that those named will be invited for succeeding hearings. We may expect that those police officials named will also circle Duterte’s wagon too, unless they too, conscience-stricken went to their priest-confessors before the hearing.

      Hontiveros took the shrewd tack of using Lascanas to probe if illegal drugs are still being used in Davao to which Lascanas answered yes. Then Hontiveros asked if EJKs (impliedly taking that as the reality in Davao) was effective in curtailing the drug problem. No, Lascanas said but a senator stated that Lascanas is no expert to make that statement.

      Early in the public narration Lacson stopped Lascanas that since his narration is already in the affidavit he has submitted and all senators have copies no need for him to go on. Comes now Trillanes who said — indeed true but since the hearing is a pubic hearing the public is entitled to know, the public not having copies of the affidavit. Lacson cannot but agree. I wonder what Gordon would have done.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Lacson said this hearing is ” noted and filed”. Never mind Gordon, he will say his opinion on recantation used by Hontiveros, does not matter because of the SC.

      • I watched most of the hearing. Sen. Aquino also secured the committment of CHR to reopen its inquiries based on the new info. The CHR worry about security shows how dangerous it was (is) to investigate Duterte. Bones in the quarry. Great stuff for a novel.

  12. Francis says:

    As a young Millennial living in these tumultuous times—I have always been of two minds regarding this era.

    Sometimes—I wish I was born in the fifties. The glow of a new peace. Science felt like it could answer everything, yet it was still pure and not scarily savant as now. Postmodernism hadn’t yet upturned everything. The social fabric of tradition and broad publics (i.e church, club and community) hadn’t yet been broken and atomized by neoliberalism.

    Then—I think to myself greedily—I am living in one of the greatest historical opportunities for thought ever. A digital age so young that no muses have yet to arise to describe it. The Industrial Age had Marx, Weber and company to describe (and define) it. No one (yet) has come up to describe (and define) this age and its probable solutions. Otherwise—we wouldn’t be stumbling so much over Trump and Populism.

    If only the costs of this era weren’t so high. But perhaps it is a silver lining that the “costs” haven’t escalated to global war ala WW3—and I damned hope it won’t.

    I’ve been musing—and I agree very, very, very, very, very much with this little tidbit:

    “Will a new supranational body have to be organized?”

    Liberalism is insufficient. Populism is insufficient. Conservatism (well, abroad; I’m not sure anything here passes off worthwhile, other than Christian Democracy) is insufficient. Because they are national ideologies. We are facing global problems—and our tools are national!? And we expect to solve them agad? Susmaryosep.

    We are facing Global Warming. We are facing automation. We are even facing fundamental questions on what it means to be freaking human—advances in genetics and biotechnology, artificial intelligence and automation allowing unprecedented control over and disruption of what it means to be human: clearly a global problem.

    Ah. Might seem crackpot, I. When I first had the same thoughts (global problem needs global government) on this—I went to reddit to look for similar threads on this issue. People ridiculed the notion of a global government because 1.) better national devil you know than the global devil you don’t, and 2.) ridiculous and idealistic.

    On 1.) I will have to say that it is precisely because you know all the tricks a nation has to offer—that you should very well know that now the once reliable nation-state’s bag of tricks won’t cut it anymore.

    On 2.) I will say this—the “utopian” ideal of global government that people held in the 19th and 20th century is utterly foolish. That we will come together in “kumbaya” ’round the ideals of peace, prosperity, liberty and whatnot is just foolish. But if this must be said, then I must also say this: to think that global government will ever arise from that is also equally foolish.

    Where did the first states form around? The bodies of water. Didn’t the strong state of the Chinese arise in part from the ancient project of damming rivers? In this global era—the rivers shall be global warming, automation and all these global problems. And the global state (like nation-states) shall be built piece by piece and shall flow from logical problems that no one person/family then (in the fading era of nation-states) and one nation now can’t solve alone.

    But alas—won’t this complexity matters further! Add more layers to the already wedding cake of layers of global society! And humanity is already super scared and frightened of complexity! And I am too. I see black propaganda (or I dunno, what seems to be…) on ALL sides—and I can’t tell the difference; if I may be frank and I mean no offense, but some pro-Duterte and anti-Duterte pages look strikingly and eerily alike in format. Who to believe? Who is telling the truth!? Everything is a conspiracy! How can I trust my elite—when there are so many layers between me and them. Even when the elite that I support is seemingly of my political and philosophical worldview–it is still scary.

    But trust will not be restored until people can have a world they can understand. They are scared. They are frightened. Because they don’t know—and can’t know since they don’t have the time and resources of academics or the experience of technocrats and politicians to understand even a silver of the world as a whole. And simply saying “Oh! The world is far too complex to simplify!” is not right. What helped hold the polis of Greece and democracies (and even monarchies and the rest) all over the world accountable was a society that human intuition could work with. Liberal, Conservative, Socialist and whatnot—if someone screwed up, it was pretty obvious (if not hidden) to everyone that he or she screwed up.

    Fake news will not die unless we Make Society Intuitive Again.

    Challenge, therefore—simultaneously simplify plus “intuify” the world and unite it under a global regime ready to handle global problems.

    Sorry for the length. Hahahaha, got carried away.

    • In addition to frightened and not understanding, I would add that way too many are intolerant moralizers who don’t accept the diversity that gives the world its richness. There are more culprits than victims, I think.

    • josephivo says:

      “The glow of a new peace”: No, the knowledge that a nuclear bomb could end it all, so enjoy now.

      “The social fabric of tradition and broad publics (i.e church, club and community) hadn’t yet been broken and atomized by neoliberalism.”: Neoliberalism doesn’t break up, it commercializes. To keep the economy growing it has to keep including more and more spheres of life.

      Global problems of the zero-sum type will need a global government. There are two way, one is preventive or organize before a catastrophic collapse, the other is wait until the catastrophic collapse and try to clean-up as good as you can.

  13. edgar lores says:

    1. Oh, my poor brain.

    2. This is too much to take. I have read “Sapiens” but got stuck in “Home Deus” about a month ago. I have read several books of fiction since then.

    3. Incidentally, I just checked on what page I was on, and it was page 54. And on this page, I now read, ”Centuries ago human knowledge increased slowly, so politics and economics changed at a leisurely pace too. Today our knowledge is increasing at breakneck speed, and theoretically, we should understand the world better and better. But the very opposite is happening. Our new-found knowledge leads to faster economic, social and political changes; in an attempt to understand what is happening, we accelerate the accumulation of knowledge, which only leads to faster and greater upheavals.” [Bolding mine.]

    4. The thought strikes me that, yes, there are many attractive options, as outlined in the article, that can be considered to find our way out of the social and political morass in which we find ourselves. But sociopolitical improvements or reorganization requires some inner transformation as well. The phenotype must change.

    5. And this may be the main problem, a problem of consciousness. Despite being exposed to democracy for decades, our phenotypes have not changed apace and not at the same rate. Meaning some individuals are more advanced than others. They appreciate democracy and its fruits while others surrender their freedom for a T-shirt.

    6. And yet we embrace technology quite quickly and easily. We can learn to operate a cellphone or tablet so we can play a game, text a friend, watch a movie, or loiter on FaceBook. But the concept of not voting a Binay or Duterte son or daughter into office escapes us. There is a failure of projection. We are homo myopicus.

    6.1. We are caught between a “tell” style and a “sell” style, with the former more operative than the latter.

    7. Sorry, Joseph, you have presented a smorgasbord of future delights. And it is true that in the last 2,000 years, mankind has come a long way. So there are many reasons for hope. I really need to get back to “Homo Deus.”

    • NHerrera says:

      The present human organization and system leaves a lot to be desired.

      Josephivo paints a multi-element perspective for the future on the possible best organization and system that will serve countries and mankind, using the best experiences, aspirations, science, technology, and may I add, paraphrasing edgar, a new type of human. Only then can we realistically hope for such a future. We hope too that we come to that soon hereabouts before the likes of Pacquiao rules the PH.

    • Haha, the sruggle of comprehension. I got to page 28 of Camus’ “The Myth of Sisyphus” and quit. Mordant guy. Thanks for reminding me.

    • NHerrera says:

      edgar, Joe: your reading fare are heavy. Mine is John Grisham. I just finished his 2015 “Rogue Lawyer.” Not his best but ok. He is my kind of rogue lawyer.

      Too late for this geriatric to develop the human type that will save the world.

      • edgar lores says:

        Yuval Noah Harari is easy to read. He is very accessible, and a good storyteller. But fully appreciating his perspective and ideas takes time.

        Incidentally, in “Sapiens” he mentions that mass famines are almost a thing of the past. He cautions though that the massive food production in modern times may just be an “ephemeral eddy of good fortune.”

        Yesterday, I was shocked to read that half of Somalia is reeling from famine brought on by drought and civil war.

        • NHerrera says:

          Thanks for your tip on Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens.” Read the editorial reviews too. Seems like a book not be missed.

        • Micha says:


          Given the book title, I would guess you’re perfectly alright with Harari’s humanism and his sympathies to the Promethean narrative?

          • edgar lores says:


            As an introvert who seeks solitude more than social interaction, I must say his formulation of “man is a social animal” is not quite to my taste. Gadzooks! That makes it sound like we are party animals. I prefer the Buddhist formulation of “man is interdependent.”

            But Harari is a synthesizer. In one compact volume, he covers more ground than Gibbon does in 12 volumes.

            His explanations of historic times sound true and, from Joseph’s article, his prognostications of the future seem exciting.

            I note that he uses his full name, and his middle name is Noah. I wonder if he fancies himself as a modern Noah safely ushering homo sapiens and the environment through these wildest times and into a sustainable future.

            • Micha says:

              Thanks. It’s good to know we are all humanists now.

              What is Buddhism’s view on the human pursuit and pre-occupation with science and technology? Isn’t that one of the “desires” that need to be suppressed/overcome/negated in order to attain nirvana?

              • edgar lores says:

                Oh, Buddhism is the most science-friendly religion. Buddhism, as practiced in meditation, is an internal quest, but anything that confirms the findings of that internal quest, as Science does, is welcome. One could say that Science is an external quest of Nature, although there have been great advances in neuroscience.

                As Technology is the offspring of Science, then it, too, is welcome… although the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “Computers make me totally blank out.” Let’s just agree, he is not computer literate.

                But, yes, you are right, any deep attachment to technology is an attachment to maya (illusion) and samsara (rebirth cycle).

              • chemrock says:

                Buddhism recognises the difference between needs and wants. The ‘wants’ are the desires to suppress, the ‘needs’ are OK. Question is, do they need federaslism or do they want federalism. Do they want deLia behind bars, or do they need deLimas behind bars?

            • josephivo says:

              Their are 2 types of animals, those living in solitude and those living in group. With “social animal”, I referred to the second (maybe a lousy translation from the Dutch Solitair versus Social.)

    • josephivo says:

      1- Haha, your poor brain will be the focus of the next century. Gone happiness as something to acquire from outside, good food, good job, good friends… The new focus will be something to acquire from inside, meditation, medication… (listen to the Dalai Lama)

  14. edgar lores says:


    Duterte has appointed Samuel Martires to replace Justice Jose Perez who retired in December.

    In 2011, Martires also wrote the decision dismissing a case against then-Davao City mayor Duterte over the demolition of a park installed by his political rival in 2008.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Maybe the park produced draaag adeeks.

      The justices he will put will be his get out of jail free ticket.

      Well it worked for Arroyo and as for ERAP he was pradoned but had a favorable decision or two before and during his time as mayor.

      Dang next two years, there will be a new ombudsman, and if the solgen becomes ombudsman, there will be a new sol gen.

      Hope the Sec of J runs and loses in the next elections.
      First he must make a deal with Suarez (Quezon)

      He might pick a justice from the Court of Appeals as payback if any, then fill up the vacancies.

      Then our lack of judges and fiscals and our sorry state of a justice system will continue.

  15. edgar lores says:


    1. The two main governing organizations of human society at present are:

    o Nation-states
    o Supranational organization

    1.1. There are intervening organizations such as regional associations – the European Union, ASEAN – and military associations – NATO and CSTO – but these constructs are limited in their purpose and functionality by the member nation-states.

    1.2. I think the paradigm of nation-states will be with us for some time. The doctrine of Westphalian sovereignty has been extant for 368 years, one century less from the time Magellan discovered the Philippines. Before nation-states, there were empires.

    1.3. The paradigm of nation-states are strong and the United Nations weak. The UN should be made stronger so that there is no reliance on the US to act as the international policeman. But are nation-states willing to cede portions of national sovereignty? I doubt it.

    2. The spectra of nation-states consist of two dimensions. First, there is the vertical spectrum that answers the question who governs. And second, there is the horizontal spectrum that answers the question what is governed.

    2.1. The vertical spectrum ranges from autocracy to direct democracy. The extremes are tyrannical forms. In the first, there is the tyranny of one, and in the second the tyranny of the majority.

    2.1.1. The extremes are hierarchical constructs in the form of a triangle. The autocrat rules from the apex in “tell” style. In a direct democracy, the base is at the top, where the apex should be. As noted by Joseph, it is a very unstable arrangement.

    2.1.2. As suggested in the article, we should consider other geometrical shapes of governance other than a triangle. The tripartite separation of powers is actually a polygon. Apart from the three main branches, there are the ombudsman and the independent commissions. The suggestion of a rotary form, whether in the legislature or in the executive, is that of a circle. Whether the executive should be a one-man show or a council should also be given consideration. The parliamentary form is more of a council. This is particularly true in Oz where one sitting prime minister after another has been ejected in between elections.

    2.1.3. The use of specialist teams is also exciting. Perhaps the best experts in private corporations can be temporarily loaned to the government service for an extended time in exchange, say, for tax concessions.

    2.2. The horizontal spectrum is really a binary — unitary or federal.

    3. In terms of human dignity, the best model for nation-states governance is a representative democracy. It is a working model that is being severely tested. I maintain the testing is more due to the quality of the representatives rather than to the structure itself.

    3.1. Per Irinieo’s input, I am in favor of direct democracy, the extensive use of popular referenda, to settle questions of great national importance, such as anti-dynasty law, same-sex marriage, divorce, and the formation of autonomous regions. Even perhaps alliances with superpowers.

    3.2. The question arises: Should the results of referenda be made mandatory within a timeframe of, say. a year? In the case of anti-dynasty law, indubitably. With divorce and same-sex marriage, certainly. But what about alliances with superpowers? Or with a BREXIT?

    4. I still waiver in my assessment of the barangay construct. How much of the “efficacy” of the anti-drug war can be attributed to the barangay? The killings began even before Duterte assumed office. I have little doubt that the immediate identification of victims, which is quite granular, can be traced to the barangay’s micro-management of citizen affairs.

    • karlgarcia says:


      I attempted to reopen the direct democracy discussion, because Joseph mentioned this before.
      Aside from the enumerated questions of national importance, there are bills also of national importance that gathered “dust” like land use law, and FOI that is why I propose for an inventory of bills that have been refiled 3 or more times, then open it for referendum.
      And we have not even mentioned Charter change.

      Congress can concentrate on new billss or bills filed only two times, if unreasonable then they can adjust it further.

      The barangay couldhave been beautiful if it did not create mini kingdoms.
      There is also gerrymandering in barangays as displayed by a barangay in San Pedro Laguna, it got sub divided a lot during the past ten or so years.
      Knowing your neighbor concept is nice, but pleae no tokhang and online stalking or any stalking for that matter.

    • Micha says:

      The concept of nation-state and democracy had been corrupted by what Mike Lofgren calls the Deep-State, a state within a state consisting of unelected entities undermining the functions of legitimately constituted governments.

      • edgar lores says:

        Ah, very good. The military-industrial complex. Lobbyists. Criminal organizations. The NPA. Imelda.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Some drawbacks.

          Lobbyists .in a referendum format the lobbyists will spend for information and misinformation, this is a form of vote buying the propaganda continues.

          Beware The Military-Industrial, Socio-Polilitical-economical and Information complex

        • Micha says:

          In Philippine context, I wouldn’t include the NPAs as part of the Deep State. They are, for the most part, barbarians at the gate wanting to seize power.

    • josephivo says:

      1- Plus a lot of organizations at the lower levels
      – Plus a lot of non-political organizations, economic, religious, sports….
      – It will not be or national or supra-national, one can identify with both. Look at Germany, this where individual states until the end of the 18 hundreds, and today they are German but also Rheinlander, or Freie HansaStadt Hamburg, etc… I am Flemish, I am Belgian and European. People identify with cities, neighborhoods.

      2 – and the 3e dimension is what is governed. What on what level and sometimes the bedroom and dress codes are included sometimes not.

      3- Referenda are easy to manipulate. I’m in favor of a random selected peoples chamber with powers of initiative and powers of veto.

      • edgar lores says:

        3. Interesting. I grant that referenda are “easy” to manipulate.

        o Random selection of citizens is presently used for jury duty.
        o Random selection will result in different combinations of groups:
        – People with no expertise on the issue(s)
        – Some people may have some intimacy with some issue(s)
        – Many people with deep expertise on the issue(s)
        o In all the above combinations, the experts or people with natural leadership qualities will tend to dominate.
        o In all combinations, there will be laggards, people who do not pull their weight.
        o The mathematics of what a majority consists of — simple majority or 3/4 majority — and the mathematics of veto — unanimous, simple majority or 3/4 majority — will have to be worked out. Also the mathematics of stalemates.
        o Requires check and balance? Perhaps confirmation of the decision of the random congress by referenda? This would be an extra cost. So why not used referenda in the first place?

        I think it will work out a bit like a congress of people, except that there are no initial party affiliations and biases at the start. This should work in the national interest in that there is no personal or party benefit to gain by the participants.

        The result will be, not the wisdom of the crowd, but the wisdom of random chance.

        Should be worth a try.

        • josephivo says:

          The group should not be too small, so enough “vocal” people will feed the debate. All should get a minimum (3 month?) introduction in “politics”. Assumption is that average people have sufficient common sense. They have access too to expert civil servants and the academe. Discussions on issues are in 20 random tables of 12/15, the 20 representatives of each table discuss for majority or consensus depending on the subject.

          They can set priorities for the house of representatives and they can veto legislation. Gradations could be worked out, simple majority of the people’s house can force the chamber to renegotiate taking the advises in account, a super majority sends the proposal to the waste bin.

  16. RHiro says:

    Humanity has been down this road before.

    Capitalism hit it’s peak in the mid 19th century and the advanced countries all transformed themselves into Imperialists. The world entered the first age of Imperialism. The competition for resources and markets saw almost the entire world controlled by a handful of countries.

    Increased productivity also brought with it the increased productivity of the destructive power of warfare.

    Countries got together to put together rules of warfare.

    After two destructive wars the new American led multilateralism endured and when the Cold War ended America declared itself the winner and pushed to impose it’s “wisdom”

    “As Rodrik sees it, globalization began to run off the rails when it got hijacked by the notion that any restrictions on the flow of goods or capital across borders would result in great sacrifice to efficiency and economic growth. Not only was this free-market ideology imposed by the United States on developing countries through the interventions of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, but it was also imposed on the United States itself through a succession of free-trade treaties, the deregulation of finance and the retreat from any semblance of industrial policy.”

    “The irony, Rodrik notes, is that the countries that experienced the greatest growth during the heyday of the “Washington consensus” were Japan, China, South Korea and India, which never embraced it. For years, they had nurtured, protected and subsidized key industries before subjecting them to foreign competition. They had closely controlled the allocation of capital and the flow of capital across their borders. And they flagrantly manipulated their currency and maintained formal and informal barriers to imports. Does anyone, he asks, really think that these countries would be better off today if they had played the game, instead, by the Washington rules?”

    Today we face another age of imperialism with the new kids on the block asserting themselves.

    “In the real world, argues Rodrik, there is a fundamental incompatibility between hyper-globalization on the one hand and democracy and national sovereignty on the other.”

    Does anyone honestly thing that the political leaders of the advanced countries will heed the lessons of the 20th century?

    The enlightenment era taught man that he could manage science and nature. However nature cannot be abused the way it has been over the last 300 years.

    Trump and the rest of the jokers should understand that we cannot negotiate with nature.

    “The starting point of Rodrik’s argument is that open markets succeed only when embedded within social, legal and political institutions that provide them legitimacy by ensuring that the benefits of capitalism are broadly shared. Defenders of globalization have always noted that the richest countries tend to be those most open to the rest of the world in terms of trade and investment. Rodrik goes a step further by noting that the most open countries are also the ones with the biggest governments, the most extensive and effective regulation, and the widest social safety nets.”

    “The reasons for that should be obvious, says Rodrik. Globalization, by its very nature, is disruptive – it rearranges where and how work is done and where and how profits are made. Things that are disruptive, of course, are destabilizing and create large pools of winners and losers. Any society, but particularly democratic societies, will tolerate such disruption only if there is confidence that the process is fair and broadly beneficial. That’s where government comes in: Markets and government, Rodrik asserts, are “complements.” Washington Post

    • josephivo says:

      Yes, but…

      Their are differences are, such as:
      – Until know we eliminated most physical work, most mental work will disappear soon too.
      – Change had a speed we could digest (almost), now it is going much faster, on more fronts as digital, nanotechnologies, biological, and more disruptive.
      – Borders are irrelevant for most of the current pressing problems, national governments powerless.

      The old “stories” of “free markets” and nations don’t cut it anymore.

  17. NHerrera says:

    Off topic


    I am aware I am interrupting the high level discussion here, but here is something from Yasay concerning his confirmation hearing as Secretary of Foreign Affairs:

    Yes, I was granted US Citizenship but that is not valid or effective (or some such word) because even then I had a pre-conceived notion of renouncing the US citizenship.

    In a similar sense, does the following make sense?

    Yes, I had an extra-marital intimate relationship with Juana but that does not matter because from the start of that relationship, I have the pre-conceived thoughts in my mind that even during the intimacies, I had only the thoughts of my wife Maria.

    I need the help of my betters here to straighten my confused mind. Methinks I should confine my reading fare to TSH blogs and commentary. I may not understand some of the high flying items, but at least they do not confuse me as Yasay does.

    • edgar lores says:

      Yasay is a man caught between safety (USA) and opportunity (the Philippines).

      To understand his dilemma, I will try to construct a timeline. The details are sparse and the dates are approximate.

      o 1983 – 1987: Yasay worked as managing director of a law firm in New York.
      o Prior to 1986: He applied for US citizenship while the Philippines was under martial law.
      o February 1986: Marcos was overthrown and Cory became President.
      o Prior to November 1986: Yasay is granted US citizenship.
      o November 24, 1986: Yasay takes the oath of US citizenship.
      o January 1987: Yasay returns to the Philippines.

      1. Yasay sought US citizenship as a refugee of martial law. He took up US citizenship as a matter of convenience but his heart was not in it. Except for martial law, his preference would have been to occupy high office in his native country.

      2. At the time he took the oath, Marcos was gone. Nevertheless, he went through the motions because — why not? == he had been granted the lesser prize of US citizenship, and might as well take the prize, eh? Perhaps one could use it as a fallback.

      3. During this time, from February 1986 to the end of the year, he was monitoring events in the Philippines, rebuilding old contacts, and seeking and seeing potential opportunities. I believe by the time he took his oath, he had made up his mind to return to the old country. After all, he was a Filipino of the noble class able to attain stratospheric heights and better than a plebeian US citizen.

      4. In January of 1987, just a month after the oath-taking, he returned to the Philippines. From that time onward, he was totally a Filipino in his heart, mind, and actions… but not in real citizenship. He was the commissioner of a law office, he was a stockholder, he became SEC chairman, and he ran for the vice-presidency.

      What you see in Yasay is the complete opportunist of no fixed loyalty.

      (To employ your analogy, he is the lover who just uses his mistress as a convenient vessel for temporary relief. Even so, he has no love for his wife as shown by his infidelity.)

      No loyalty to the businesses, the government offices, and the presidents he worked with. And no loyalty to country. Everything but everything is just a convenience to fatten the Yasay bank account and to flatter the Yasay ego.

      • NHerrera says:

        Thanks for taking the time to un-confuse my mind. Opportunist indeed with your cited information. There are lots and lots of those currently. There is Pacquiao who declared his “undying” allegiance to Binay, and now Duterte. Need we say opportunism about the bible-citing Cayetano? (I still have to watch a senate hearing where before Cayetano starts his questioning, he does not quote the bible. Gee weez, what’s with the guy?)

      • NHerrera says:

        The Commission on Appointments finally rejected today 2017-03-08 the confirmation of Yasay as Secretary of Foreign Affairs — on his third appearance at the CA. His lying to the CA under oath was the reason. He was not successful with his convoluted lawyerly statements.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          I wished they had rejected Aguirre too. There was reason enough, but Legarda railroaded his confirmation.

          • NHerrera says:

            Agree with the additional notes:

            – that Yasay, to me, is somewhat more charming or less grating than Aguirre — it must be the heat caused by that unnatural hair compared to the more dignified looking natural white hair of Yasay. (How I wish I have the latter’s top.)

            – poor Legarda, she had her heydays when she used to top or be close to the top over several senate elections.

          • karlgarcia says:

            With another Bedan appointeed to the SC, it is a good thing the SC has an age limit of 70. Aguirre is past 70.

        • chemrock says:

          This is a phyrric victory so the CA can proudly display their flag of professional independence. Yassay is just a seat warmer for Cayetano. Makes no difference to Yassay, just a bruised ego. I can almost hear Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker singing — what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

          • NHerrera says:

            Yes, that. Cayetano has his own colorful history:

            – natural-born Filipino by virtue of a Filipino father, the late Senator Cayetano; and a

            – natural-born American by virtue of an American mother.

  18. This is a great article, josephivo. Thanks!

    Like I’ve said before (again & again) the sum of all articles in Joe’s blog, is your article: (it’s like the pinnacle of the pyramid’s already there, but we’re all still trying to build towards it 😉 )

    As chemp’s note above re Filipinos, Catholicism and Buddhist perspective , there seems a loud lack of New Thinkers in the Philippines. One can say it’s due to the brain drain, and for those who’ve stayed behind lack of nutritious food (both for the brain and the stomach) ; OR that it just might be Filipino Catholicism at fault.

    Similarly, one can draw parallels in the downfall of Sunni Islam in the Middle East, what was once vibrant and varied interpretations of Islam , was consolidated to one Wahhabi interpretation (thank you petro-dollars).

    The Philippines, like the Middle East, really has no fall back philosophy since they’ve become so dependent on Catholicism as their source of morality (and organization).

    What comes close are cults like Quiboloy’s—- essentially a hustle (ie. , you know a business or movement is past the hustle stage when they can do transparent reports to investors, ie. josephivo’s Portugal taxation choices, I believe Scandinavian countries do something similar?).

    For Filipinos spouting American founding fathers, or European enlightenment , they’re also seen as hustling. Foreign ideas are dubious, but a Jewish carpenter in Palestine turned son of God, not so.

    Whatever the explanations of this lack of New Thinkers in the Philippines, and we’ve attempted to list current or up & coming leaders there, with negative results, my question is,

    ———- can we start listing schools or programs, taking up this mantle to create the Philippines’ New Thinkers? Not to create the nation’s military & police leaders (PMA & PNPA); nor public & private colleges & universities there aplenty (essentially degree factories), but

    schools intent on creating thinkers and leaders of the future, as josephivo said, new Filipinos who can leverage their global position as both East and West? Google Deep Springs College in western California near the Nevada border… something like that but in the Philippines.

    p.s. _____ re wall around California because of robots and algorithms , i would add nootropics (smart drugs, also called cognitive enhancers). I’ve said before that taking drugs was a form of slow suicide; but the nootropics fad here in California is different, mostly up north, but with Snap chat and more companies in the apps industry setting up shop in San Diego & L.A., also southern California now.

    So back to edgar’s copy/paste of Harari’s “in an attempt to understand what is happening, we accelerate the accumulation of knowledge, which only leads to faster and greater upheavals.” … nootropics IMHO are newly designed surf boards from which to ride this new “faster and greater” wave of knowledge accumulation.

    Now compared that to shabu as the wake-up drug for young BPO industry Filipinos.

    Mind you, i’m not espousing drugs , but simply positing the notion that folks are attempting to ride this wave, granted in the end this tsunami will flatten a lot of people, but the idea of actually riding it , you gotta give ’em respect ala Johnny Utah to Bodhi in the last scene of ‘Point Break’ (original).

    Are there any Bodhis in the Philippines? I think Gina Lopez is one, she just doesn’t have a loyal following, like Patrick Swayze did. Who’s running or planning to run a Deep Springs College over there?

  19. karlgarcia says:

    To those intetested in the developments of 3D printing, the article below says that it is a dud.

  20. josephivo says:

    A lot of the traditional production methods are based on taking material away to obtain the end product (turn, drill, chisel away…). Nature however over billions of years developed production methods of adding material. Printing is adding towards the end product, that’s why I belief in 3D printing. But is will evolve as 2D did (automatic typewriters, dot-matrix -, inkjet -, laser -, thermal…. printers). It will exist beside other zero waste methods (injection molding, extrusion, knitting….)

    • karlgarcia says:

      I understand, reading these reality check articles makes me more curious as to how the proponents overcome all the challenges.Opportunity from crisis.

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